The program stands as a beacon of progress, aligning with Bangladesh’s aspirations for a resilient and prosperous agricultural sector.
Bangladesh’s commercial banks have earmarked Tk35,000 crores in loans for farmers in an effort to enhance agricultural production for the fiscal year 2023-24. The announcement by Bangladesh Bank Deputy Governor AKM Sajedur Rahman Khan came as Bangladesh Bank unveiled the Agricultural and Rural Credit Policy and Program for the fiscal year 2023-24 on Sunday.
The event was attended by high-ranking officials from various commercial banks.
Expanding Financial Support for Farmers
In its bid to propel the agricultural sector, the Agricultural and Rural Credit Policy and Program has set a target of Tk35,000 crores for the disbursement of agricultural and rural loans this fiscal year. This marks a notable increase of 13.60% from the previous year’s target of Tk30,811 crores. Diversified among beneficiaries, state-owned commercial and specialized banks have targeted Tk12,030 crores, private banks set Tk21,923 crores, and foreign commercial banks allocated Tk1,047 crores.
The program’s success echoes in its previous year’s achievements. In the fiscal year 2022-23, banks exceeded expectations by disbursing Tk32,830 crores in agricultural and rural loans, surpassing the target by 106.55%. A total of 33,04,811 individuals received these loans, including 18,81,933 women, amounting to Tk12,752 crores. Additionally, 27,36,087 small and marginal farmers obtained Tk22,402 crores, and Tk18 crores were directed towards farmers in challenging geographic regions.
Empowering farmers and enhancing resilience
The Agricultural & Rural Credit Policy and Program in Bangladesh has become a catalyst for agricultural sector transformation. This government initiative, carried out by financial institutions, aims to elevate farmers in rural areas through the provision of financial aid, modern agricultural practices, and enhanced livelihoods.
The program prioritizes food security in an ever-changing global context and encourages commercial banks to distribute loans in accordance with agricultural sector priorities. Notably, Bangladesh Samabaya Bank Limited and Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB) have set respective goals of Tk26 crores and Tk1,423 crores. At least 50% of the target amount must now be disbursed through the bank’s network, up from 30% previously.
Under the Agricultural & Rural Credit Policy and Program, loans must be distributed with priority to new producers. The utmost loan limit for rural income-generating activities will be Tk5 million. “In the fisheries sector, a minimum of 13% of the target and in the livestock sector, a minimum of 15% of the target have to be disbursed,” the BB added.
The minimum limit for loans in the fisheries sector has been set at 13% of the targeted distribution amount, and for wildlife conservation, it has been set at 15%.
The far reaching impact
The Agricultural & Rural Credit Policy and Program in Bangladesh has left an indelible mark on the nation’s farmers, ushering in a new era of prosperity and development. By providing access to crucial credit, particularly for smallholders and those in remote areas, the program has empowered farmers to make vital investments in modern farming practices, machinery, and inputs. This support has translated into heightened agricultural productivity, improved crop quality, and increased income. The program’s influence extends beyond economic gains, as it encourages crop diversification, reducing vulnerability to market fluctuations and promoting food security.
Notably, the program has empowered women in rural areas, allowing them to actively engage in farming decisions and fostering gender equality. This multi-faceted initiative has catalyzed economic growth by enhancing purchasing power and alleviating poverty in rural communities. Furthermore, by promoting sustainable practices it has the potential to pave the way for environmentally conscious agricultural development.
In essence, the Agricultural & Rural Credit Policy and Programme has emerged as a pivotal force, channeling financial support, modern practices, and empowerment to reshape Bangladesh’s agricultural landscape. This holistic initiative is poised to uplift rural communities, stimulate economic progress, and fortify resilience in the face of challenges.